In relation to the beginning of the Universe, is science saying ‘Give me one free miracle, and from there the entire thing will proceed with a seamless, causal explanation’?

I think its important to recognise that the word miracle is pretty loaded. Personally, I’ve observed every moment that exists as its own miracle, at least when I’m feeling alive and awake and positive enough to recognise it as such.

Science doesn’t really go in for miracles, but it tends to avoid making claims about them. Or rather, it explains the ones it can, and tries to work out how the others worked. It then argues, theorises, verifies and overturns as necessary. Science isn’t a statement of reality, its a process by which best guesses are forumlated and tested.

The Big Bang, or at least some kind of explosion, projecting everything outwards, is the best fit for the currently favoured model of the universe. Everything is moving outwards, which implies everything used to be in one place. Evidence for this exists in radiation born at that start. To the best of our understanding, that is what the world around us tells us.

Yes, it’s a theory, and yes, it only goes up to a certain point. There’s a threshold where the ruleset stops making sense. It’s proposed that before that point some weird shit happened, the rules of physics didn’t apply, an infinite amount of everything was in an infinitely small space, something happened that stopped that being a stable state, and caused a big bang.

It doesn’t make sense to science yet, but the examination of the evidence will keep on nibbling outwards.

It’s complicated, because we’re talking about our present assumptions not adding up. And you can only extrapolate into the past like that assuming that assumptions are steady.

So we can’t go all the way back. Science doesn’t ask for a miracle though, it just asks ‘what happened?’ Then it goes hunting for evidence. People start making guesses, and because everyone’s curious, the guesses get published.

The thing is, there’s always going to be a limit to what science can explain. Not only that, but there’s the potential for everything currently known to be overthrown overnight. That’s actually the best thing about science. As soon as something doesn’t fit the model, the model has to be changed. All the evidence has to fit in.

But there will always be holes.

If you choose to believe in God, then science leaves plenty of very convenient spaces for you to find him in. The big bang/first cause, is just one of these. Then people call a theoretical particle a ‘God particle’, as if that will explain everything.

Belief is simpler than that. There is enough wonder to go around. Some people explain it, others marvel. Some people use their minds to take it apart and see how it works. Others just rely on it working.

Science throws up weirdness, it uncovers it, and looks at it. It tries not to call it miracles, because that’s loaded.

It doesn’t mean they aren’t there.

It just means some of them make sense.

Which I think is the more wonderful wonder, by far.

Illustration by Helen

I’ve been sent a link, and some background to this question here.


About Alabaster Crippens

Joiner of Dots. Player of Games. Unreliable Narrator. Dancing Fool.
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3 Responses to In relation to the beginning of the Universe, is science saying ‘Give me one free miracle, and from there the entire thing will proceed with a seamless, causal explanation’?

  1. natdogg says:

    I feel that the complete self generation of matter from nothing, (please explain what nothing is), is more than just a miracle no matter how you decide to interpret that word. It is not a miracle, it is impossible. When you look at everything around us, all things have a reason for their existence outside of themselves, nothing we see just appeared or self manifested. Science has a long way to go, far further than we can ever realise, is full of holes and is being corrected all the time but will never reach the point where it can adequately prove that something can come from nothing because it just didn’t happen. This argument is purely a way for atheist scientists to avoid having to face the reality of a creator and has been admitted by some of them in their more honest moments. Given that this is obviously the case it seems to be a better plan to find out exactly what that creator is like than pretend the question doesn’t exist for the rest of your life by filling the days with nonsense.

    • I think the point for me, which oddly I didn’t really go into, is that it’s impossible for me to leap into the unknown and say ‘that is what is there’. We don’t know that there was nothing before the earliest extrapolations of our assumptions, we can’t know. Any statement about a creator, or the nature of that creator is a guess. I favour the guesses of science because they allow themselves to be overturned and are purely based on observable evidence. It doesn’t mean it isn’t all potentially a crock though.
      I don’t think science will ever explain everything, and the nature of its reliance on falsifiability means that even if it did, it would never know!
      So yes, there’s always holes, and if you want to fill them with a creator, or anything, then there’s room for that. The problem is, you can only fill those holes with faith. It has to be your own response to the world as you see it.
      I, unfortunately and for complicated reasons, find it dangerous to let my mind fill in gaps in my perception.
      The question does exist, but I don’t think it can be answered. At least not in the world that works the way I see it. God, or anything like I normally hear that term used, is unknowable. To me, that means claiming that it is something specific is absurd.
      What I can’t know, I don’t know, and that’s the end of it.
      For me it has to be.
      I hope that makes some sense, feel free to tear it to shreds.
      Thanks for your comments.

  2. natdogg says:

    Yes I appreciate the honesty and understand what you are saying however belief in a deity is in no way saying ‘that is what is there’, in fact, it is the exact opposite. When religious people act as though they have sussed out God and have him summed up, bagged and tagged in a nice package they are in for a nasty shock, fooling themselves and others. God in Celtic theology was known as ‘the wild goose’, I’m sure you can imagine the implication, and the bible states that ‘he who think he knows something does not yet know as he should’. Strong words. There is a book by a famous Christian mystic called ‘the cloud of unknowing’ and as far as I can remember this book states that God cannot be known until the human acknowledges his utter inability to know anything at all, only then with this face of humility and dependence may we be allowed to see. All of human knowledge is foolishness to God and the foolishness of God is wiser than the wisdom of men. This is why I find science so arrogant at times. Having studied (badly) as a science undergraduate I have a small amount of awareness of the extreme limitations of science. Einstein himself stated we will never be anything but a small child walking wondrously into a library filled with every book from every tongue yet somehow sensing that there should be an order. If Einstein says this then I find the certaintly of the likes of Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris, (less so), to be absolutely vulgar. I guess my perspective is that if we wait until we know, depending on what you define as know, we will be stifled into inaction as we never know anything according to the scientific method ie. needing to be repeatable, measureable and observable except the tiniest details. This is why I see science as the largest leap of faith there is and faith in God to be an infinitely smaller step.

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